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Indian Ambassador P.Kumaran addressing the reception of 69th Republic Day declared that 2019 will be celebrated as Qatar-India Year of Culture. He said that “The year 2019 will be celebrated as the Qatar-India Year of Culture. We expect to organize in partnership with Qatar Museums a plethora of exciting cultural exhibitions and events that will highlight the cultural and traditional ties that bind us,”

The event was attended by various dignitaries such including the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi; Minister of Development Planning and Statistics H E Dr Saleh Mohammed Salem Al Nabit; Ibrahim Fakhroo, Chief of Protocol, several ambassadors and members of Indian community.

He further stressed on importance of India- Qatar relations stating that Indian corporate look at Qatar as a promising market and are today pursuing collaborations in a number of areas, including infrastructure, information and communication technology, energy and other areas to the mutual benefit of both sides.

“Qatar’s exports to India amount to nearly $10bn per year, making India the third largest export destination for Qatari products. On the other hand, Qatar’s imports from India, currently at about $1.2bn, have grown at a healthy rate over the past several years,”

He further stated that due to direct linking Indian ports with Qatar has led to substantial increase in Qatar’s imports from India. Moreover a total of 24 fully owned Indian companies and an estimated 6000 Qatar-India joint ventures operate in various sectors of the Qatari economy.

Various recent policy decisions taken by Qatar in context to Qatar Petroleum’s decision to expand LNG output from the North Field to 100 million tonnes, Liberalisation of visa regulations, changes introduced to Company Law, the new Free Zone regulations and the proposed Permanent Residency scheme for longstanding foreign residents have stimulated strong economic relations between India and Qatar.

The strengthening of relations is also evident from the fact that number of Indian trade delegations have visited Qatar in recent months, to participate in trade exhibitions and explore business opportunities and Indian is also keen on hosting Qatari companies for collaboration in India.

Further he stated that “We appreciate Qatar’s contribution to India’s energy security, as a reliable long-term partner for our increasing energy needs. Qatar is the largest exporter of LNG and LPG to India. Our Petroleum Minister is on record as having said that India plans to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix, currently at about 7 percent to 20 percent by 2030,” Also “Qatar will therefore continue to be a key partner in our energy security calculus for many years to come,”.

Moreover, strengthening of relations between India and Qatar are of extreme importance for the welfare and well-being at the India community in Qatar which is a matter of priority. Hopefully the continued development in the relation will lead to prosperity paths for both the countries.

The recent monthly Open house address at the Indian embassy took on the urgent consular and labour issues of Indian nationals in Qatar.

As per the statement issued by Indian Embassy stated that the grievances notified were majorly related to delayed payment of wages, violations of contract in context to terms and conditions.

P Kumaran, Indian Ambassador to Qatar, Dr M Aleem, the third secretary (Labour and Community Welfare) and other concerned officials addressed all the notified complainants. They discussed their issues in detail and assured them that embassy will actively follow-up of their cases with the concerned authorities in Government of Qatar.

The meeting was attended by Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF) officials Devis Edakulathur, president; Babu Rajan, vice-president; and Mahesh Gowda, general-secretary along with some other members of the ICBF management committee.

Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF) being the apex community association working for welfare of Indian workers too was an active participant of the open house meeting. Devis Edakulathur, president; Babu Rajan, vice-president; and Mahesh Gowda, general-secretary of ICBF were the major participants from ICBF.

Including the recent open house, 13 Open Houses seassions have taken place since January 2017.A total of 83 complaints were received during these Open Houses from which 58 complaints have been resolved while 25 are still under active follow-up by the mission.

A team from embassy has also visited he Central Prison and Deportation Centre last week to enquire about the welfare of detainees from India. The current total of Indian nationals in the Central Prison and Deportation Centre is 168 and 137, respectively.

In the same direction in this month’ open house session embassy issued 72 Emergency Certificates to Indian nationals for their repatriation to India and 16 air tickets to needy Indian nationals for returning back to India.

The embassy had also organised five consular camps in the Salwa, Mesaieed, Al Khor, Dukhan-Zikreet and Al Shamal areas and rendered 154 consular services to Indian nationals, in this month.

Other major issues including supply of foodstuff, transport support, medical assistance and minor assistance to Indian workers in Qatar has been taken care by ICBF. 35 Indian workers have been relieved in January by continued efforts of ICBF.

However, there is still a need for a better coordination and support from the government of Qatar, to design a fast track mechanism for resolving the issues.